A Humbling Experience
Faulkner, a particularly spiritual person with plans to attend seminary, described his injury as a humbling experience that has helped him grow more spiritually.
This hit home to a senior who was averaging 10 minutes a game at the beginning of the season, even after putting a lot of hard work and long hours in the gym over the summer. Without much of an opportunity to prove his abilities on the court, Faulkner began feeling worthless to his team.
“I wasn’t getting the playing time I was hoping for,” he said. “A guy gets injured, and for five to six games, I went from playing 10 minutes a game to 30 to 35 minutes a game. I felt like in a sense God was showing a blessing for my hard work. Then a few days later, I blow my Achilles tendon, and my season is done.”
Through all the pain and heartbreaking early end to his career, he received the Sooner Athletic Conference Co-Sportmanship Award, Academic All-SAC honors and was named an NAIA Champion of Character.
“At first I felt like this award was something that people just kind of chuckle at,” Faulkner said. “It’s not an award for being an incredible basketball player. It is an award that you are a good sport.”
But after thinking about it, he said he was honored to get the award, and his coaches were pleased to have the award on the team.
Even more striking about the award, however, is that it wasn’t something Faulkner ever would have won in high school.
“I felt like it was a testimony to the work that God has done in my life,” he said. “In high school and before high school, I was cocky, arrogant, talked trash, and I was really dirty … But through the last four years, God has changed me, and this was a testimony to who I am on the court.”
Faulkner said he believes God gave him two callings — one being basketball and the other being to teach the gospel.
“God calls teachers to be faithful and in the scripture you see the fruit of faithful teachers,” he said. “To change lives and save souls — I want that to be a mark on my ministry. I feel that God has called me to teach.”
Faulkner’s servant attitude extends both on and of the court.
“As a servant of Christ, basketball is a way for me to worship Jesus,” Faulkner said. “Every minute is to bring honor and glory to him. Even if I don’t play a single minute or succeed on the court, it is about that opportunity to do everything in the glory of God.”
For the past four years, he has tried to train himself to honor Christ during the game. Games get heated, people start to talk trash and some people are harsh. Anyone that watches him in a game can tell that he wants to win just as much as any other player on the floor.
“I want people to be able to look at me and look at the effort I give and the way I treat people on the court,” he said. “I want people to look at me and … to know it’s because of what Christ has done in my life.”